Piper employees applauded for ‘doing the right thing,’ keeping safety at the forefront

By Dan Piper

On the night of June 16, 2023, one of our newly licensed electricians was called into a customer’s facility, a soft drink bottling firm, to evaluate one of two large air compressors that would not run. What he, Tyler DesBouvrie, found was that the 600 ampere switch of the fusible over-current device ahead of the controller for this piece of equipment had failed. He saw evidence of overheated and damaged wiring, wire connectors and the switching mechanism that was severely discolored. Two of the 500A fuses had blown.

The maintenance manager for this plant pressed our electrician to change the fuses and get this machine ‘up and running’ again. This compressor is paired with another and either one can keep up with the demands of the operation.

Tyler felt uncomfortable with this request and called on Tom Tamalavitch, our manager, to back him up with the decision to refuse this request. Tom drove to the plant to evaluate this and upon seeing the condition of the equipment, completely agreed with our electrician to replace the switch at the earliest opportunity. I was called to confirm all of the above and I agreed that as a safety issue, the switch needed to remain out of service. This meant that ASAP; the morning of the next day, we would obtain a new switch and replace the damaged unit. Tyler’s decision, based upon safety, both of equipment, and of personnel, coupled with possible additional damage to the compressor itself, was confirmed and at about 2 a.m., our crew left the factory.

The next morning, we went into action quickly and located a new switch at a supplier about 30 miles away. We sent a driver to pick it up and sent a crew to remove the damaged unit. Once our crew got on site, they found that the maintenance manager had one of his maintenance people replace the fuses and “jam” some washers into the burned switch parts to make contact and got the compressor running through the night.

We completed the repair. The new switch was installed and the damaged wires were spliced, lengthened, and insulated. New connectors were also installed. The original problem was a connection in the switch mechanism.

The original determination by Tyler, confirmation by Tom and myself, was correct and the decision by the plant maintenance manager to bypass safety was premature and foolish. This put his people at risk of physical harm when the switch was ‘band-aided’ and put into service. There can be no compromise when a safety issue is present.

We may or may not be used again by this customer, but the correct choice was made.

New Piper employees in 2023:

Brady Billings – Co-op student (senior) at Monty Tech

Nancy Boucher – Office staff

Tyler Camelo- apprentice

Jason Dupuis- Electrician/ project manager

Nathan Burris – apprentice- Piper New Hampshire

David Kearsley- Electrician – Piper New Hampshire

Piper Employee Updates:

Earlier this year, Isaiah Goguen (apprentice) was in a major motorcycle accident.

After a hospital stay and extensive rehab, he is recovering and hopes to be back at Piper sometime in the New Year.

In November, Bobby Lovell (project manager) reached his 5-year milestone.

  • Kyle Therrien’s (electrician) 5-year anniversary is in February 2024.
  • Justin Ryworth’s (electrician) 5-year anniversary was in June 2023.
  • Jeremy Brown (electrician) and Matt Peloquin will be hitting their 20 year milestone with Piper in the spring of 2024.
  • Jeff Caron (electrician) is approaching 40 years with Piper.